News Organization helps people struggling with hydro bills SHARE ON: Doug Crosse, staff Wednesday, Mar. 27th, 2019 Helping to keep the lights on. An organization in Ontario is trying to assist those people struggling with keeping the power bill paid through energy conservation. Executive Director for the Affordability Fund, Laura Cooke is working with the province’s vulnerable population that needs help to pay rent, groceries and the hydro bill. “We try to understand the electricity burden of the household,” says Cooke. “And with that, we determine what level of the program that you are eligible for.” The programs range from energy audits to replacing major appliances in order to lower costs. Based on how a person’s home is rated new refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers can be installed. To be eligible people need to be renting or owning their home and have a hydro bill in their own name. From there a phone call or online assessment gets people through the next steps. Cooke says they see a wide range of people accessing the fund. “The kind of people we see applying to the fund varies greatly,” she explains. “We do see a lot of seniors living on fixed incomes. They might be living in an older home and they don’t have the potential to move say to an apartment or smaller home to reduce their overall costs.” New, younger homeowners are also seeking help. “We’re also seeing new or first-time homebuyers,” she says. “People who are getting used to the new costs of running a house.” The fund was started in 2017, and is set up as a trust. The initial money came from provincial funding. And there is no shortage of people seeking help. “We’ve seen more than 65,000 people apply in just over one year,” Cooke says. “That doesn’t mean that 65,000 people are eligible but 65,000 people applied.” If you would like to learn more about the Affordability Fund – click here.